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Courtesy of Nick Elwood

Funk and fiddles hit The Blue Note on May 10

Think you can say Stone Sugar Shakedown five times fast?

By Lauren Rutherford | May 2, 2013

Tags: Downtown Columbia Music

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When: 9:30 p.m., May 10

Where: The Blue Note

Tickets: $5

The pre-finals blues: brought on by stress and the thought of cramming more knowledge into one’s brain. The cure: some funky grooves courtesy of The Stone Sugar Shakedown.

“'Stone Sugar' is meant to evoke the idea of harmony, balance and the coexistence of opposites,” guitarist and vocalist Nick Elwood says. “'Shakedown' is supposed to make people feel good and get excited.”

The Stone Sugar Shakedown, a funk group native to St. Louis, will open for local band The HipNecks on May 10 at The Blue Note. Elwood says the group couldn’t be more excited to bring its A-game to Columbia.

“It’s far enough away that it’s playing out of town, so it’s a little more exciting," Elwood says. “It’s a different experience than the everyday thing.”

The HipNecks, the show’s headliners, are a literal blend of hippie and redneck influences that produces a rock 'n' roll sound with hints of bluegrass. Think twangy tunes rooted in mid-Missouri soil. Its song “Water Ain’t Right” was featured as part of Revival: Columbia Missouri Music Compilation, recorded at local studio Home Tone Records. You can’t get more local than these guys and gals.

As for The Stone Sugar Shakedown, multiple vocalists as well as a jazz background bless the group with the power to perform both vocally charged and strictly instrumental pieces.

“Musically, we’re trying to keep it diverse,” Elwood says. “It’s rooted in funk and blues and rock and sort of the attitudes of those styles. The main philosophy is to improvise as much as possible and jam stuff out. We play a lot of originals and covers as well because it’s all just about having a song to start from, a jump-off point.”

Over the years, The Stone Sugar Shakedown has taken different forms, as the band transitioned through a rotating cast of members. Elwood says that he and Tracy Gladden have been the two batteries behind the group ever since they came up with the name together — a name that invokes curiosity and ties the tongues of many.

“I think 'Stone Sugar Shakedown,' even though it’s kind of a lot to say and might be hard to remember, stands out when you see it,” Elwood says.

He says the funky band name was born out of word association. Gladden and Elwood made two huge lists of words and tried different combinations until something stuck. He says, laughingly, that anything is better than the band name of his group in college, Music for Dogs.

But The Stone Sugar Shakedown’s funk carries far past its name. The band's performance at The Blue Note promises to be funky fresh and soulfully groovy.

“If anyone is looking for a good show to see or a band that is always trying something new, keepin’ at it and is genuine, then I definitely encourage those folks to come to the show,” Elwood says. “We’re doing something that we love and trying to spread the good energy. There’s something righteous about a good show.”

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